The proper use of specific keywords and phrases is one of the fundamental building blocks of Search Engine Optimization. Typically, a copywriter will target two or three main keywords, plus an additional half dozen secondary phrases, that they expect will interest readers and gain the attention of search engines. The idea is to choose keywords and phrases that are most likely to be used in an online search, so that any given online document will show up in the search results for that topic. So far, it all sounds sensible and straight forward. But how do you know which keywords to utilize? And how can you determine which keywords and phrases are more likely to produce the results you’re looking for? Most importantly, how do you successfully weave those key phrases into your online copy in a natural and organic fashion?
Choosing Your Keywords and Phrases
At first glance choosing keywords and phrases for your website seems straightforward. All you need to do is jot down a few words that describe your website or business, select the one’s you like best, and away you go. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that easy. Certainly, you need to start by brainstorming a few ideas, and by making lists of words and phrases that pertain to the blog, business, or service you are trying to market. During your brainstorming sessions, keep these tips in mind to help you build a list of words and phrases to consider:
- Choose keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business or website
- Choose words and phrases that describe what potential visitors will find at your website
- Try to think like your customers, and try to isolate any words and phrases that you think internet users are most likely to use in an online search when looking for your services
- Choose keywords that relate to your goals as a business owner or service provider, and that you feel will drive traffic to your site
Once you have compiled a list of words and phrases to take under consideration, it’s time to put them to the test to determine their SEO value. In other words, it’s time to do some research.
Keyword Research Tools
There are a number of keyword research tools that can be used to test the power and versatility of the words and phrases you have chosen. Google AdWords provides its users with one of the most powerful keyword research tools on the market. Users can submit a keyword, from which they will receive a detailed list of relevant keywords and phrases derived from the original submission. Google’s Keyword Research Tool also gives users a competitive ranking for each keyword, indicating the number of times it has been used in a global or local search. Working with Google’s AdWords gives you access to data from one of the most active search engines around the globe, and is one of the best tools on the market for researching possible keywords for your site.
Of course, Google AdWords isn’t the only effective tool out there for researching potential keywords. SEOmoz, a leader in search engine optimization, offers its own Keyword Difficulty Tester. Similar to Google’s Keyword Research Tools, SEOmoz’s Difficulty Tester goes a step further and assesses the potential difficulty a keyword poses when being used to optimize a web-page or online document. Beyond what is offered by Google and SEOmoz, you may also want to consider Microsoft AdCenter’s Keyword Generation Tool or Wordtracker which offer similar research services.
Putting Your New Keywords to Work
Whichever research tool you use, the information you gather will help you choose the most effective keywords and phrases for your project. You might want to choose a combination of low end, mid-range and highly competitive keywords to start with. At this point it helps to take advantage of Google AdWords keyword testing options to learn how your choices perform in actual online searches. After a couple of weeks of testing, you will have the data you need to finalize your keyword selection.
With your keywords and phrases assemble it’s time to start putting them to work in real time online content. While keywords help to garner the attention of search engines, it is always important to remember that they should not be over used. The placement of any keyword or phrase should be done naturally, and their use should arise out of an organic approach to writing online copy. Let good content be your guide, and let your keywords be a guide for search engines and potential visitors.